It's a rule I have. Every place I spend time should be better because I was there.
Everywhere. A table at Starbucks? I'll wipe it off with a napkin when I sit down, and pick up my mess when I leave.
Be friendly to staff everywhere. Tip great service well. Point out terrible service politely to a manager, because terrible service is bad for everyone (the server, manager, business, and customers are all worse off if terrible service is happening).
Lightly clean any room you go to.
Don't trash a room just because other people are going to clean it.
In really messy, gross environments you're going to be only for a short time, at least don't make it worse.
If you see any hazards on a sidewalk or road that could hurt someone, move them.
In a space that's your own space, spend five minutes per day cleaning it one little area of it. Run a dustcloth or wet paper towel or napkin over one small corner of the room or area.
Maintain your clothing, tools, furnishings, and everything else around you.
If you're living on the road, your bag is your home. Occasionally lightly clean the inside of your pack or suitcase, mend any damage you can fix, throw out junk you've accumulated.
If you're someone's guest, buy/cook more food, groceries, and toiletries, or give them a nice and practical gift, or both.
Wash the dishes if you stay with someone and they've got dishes.
If every space your enter is better after you were there, you become welcome in many more spaces. It's good for your mind. It makes you feel welcome to walk into any area, knowing you're a force for good and you take care of your environment. It gets you into good habits so you treat your own important spaces well. It makes the world a better place.
Constantly improve your environment. Your life will be better if you do.
OK, So I'm only a year behind :)
I too like the idea of returning a borrowed item in better shape than you got it. I'll have to keep that in mind. I don't borrow much, but do sometimes.
I always make a point of holding the door for the next person coming along. It often surprises them, and of course there are the people who literally walk in while chatting on their phones and don't even acknowledge the service. So far I've avoided the urge to just let the door go on such people. But most people, even if they were off in their own world, will crack a smile and surface for a little while.
As for the original post - good suggestions. I always do some of that, but perhaps I'll give a little more thought to it now.
This reminds me of something my dad always told me:
"When you borrow something, return it in better condition as when you recieved it."
The impact of such little things can be amazing. Be nice to someone, e.g. hold open the door, and he'll maybe do the same to the next two people behind him. These two people will go on and hold the door open for the next two people behind them and so on. This doesn't have something to do with the environment directly but it surely has an impact on it.
Phaed commented on "Those Easy Days With Nothing Due…" - it was a good comment, so I thought it deserved its own post:
I had a similar day today to yours yesterday. I did still manage to get a few extraneous things done. But, as a distraction came up, I asked it are you more urgent than the other tasks on my list. Mostly, the answer was no. But a few times, the answer was yes.
Now, sometimes a short, unimportant task can be more urgent than a long, important task, because clearing yourself of it unburdens you, so is sometimes good to do immediately. But you will balance all of these things against the urgency of your top priority task.
This means, on a busy day, aka a day with many urgent important tasks, your “filler,” do it right now tasks have to be equally urgent and important. On a less busy day, not only are your main tasks less important, but the filter for which “filler” tasks you let in lowers as well.
I'm thrilled that Tynan is coming to you with two things -- first, he's offering a breakthrough session through GiveGetWin. It's geared around doing more of the kind of excellent work you want to do, becoming more internally focused with your emotions, having a more enjoyable life, building great habits, and producing a lot of value in the process. There's five spots, so check it out now.
Second, we have this wonderful tour-de-force interview: it starts by covering how Tynan made the shift from unfocused to focused, how to derive internal enjoyment from things, useful actionable exercises you can do right now, Tynan's method and mindset for producing creative work consistently, how to set up great habits and an excellent mental and physical work environment, and how to make blogging work and similar endeavors work for you.
Total Focus; Total Enjoyment by Tynan, as told to Sebastian Marshall
When I turned 30 and I had a minor freak out… I thought, "I'll be 40 in not long, and then 50… there's things I want to do in my life, and they're not happening at this pace."
Before that, I had a general idea of things I wanted to do and have in my life, but I went about in an unstructured way. It was good in a lot of ways. It made be a broad process, but not much depth.